Distributed Architecture is a New York-based design and research practice run by Catherine Ahn and Fabrizio Furiassi. The office is committed to building participatory and instigative processes that bring equity and inclusion into the built environment. Distributed Architecture is recipient of the Columbia GSAPP Incubator Prize 2021-2022, and will lead a unit at the AA Visiting School Seoul 2022.

Catherine Ahn is an architectural designer and researcher based in New York and Seoul. She has over ten years of professional experience in cultural, residential, and hospitality projects at SITE and Obra Architects. Catherine graduated in architecture at Princeton University SoA and the Cooper Union. She also studied at the Hongik University in Seoul. Catherine was a research fellow at the Institute for Public Architecture in New York where she investigated new modes of community engagement with industrial stakeholders around Newtown Creek. Recently, she has completed research projects on construction and demolition waste, environmental justice, and collective design pedagogy at the Women’s School of Planning and Architecture (WSPA) with the Princeton Mellon Initiative.

Fabrizio Furiassi is an architect, researcher and educator who teaches architectural history/theory and design studio at Parsons School of Design in New York. Over the last ten years, he has collaborated internationally with architecture firms, cultural institutions, and enlightened clients to disseminate critical design culture. Among them are Sou Fujimoto Architects, Obra Architects, and the Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery. Fabrizio holds master’s degrees from Columbia University GSAPP and La Sapienza University of Rome. He also studied at the Moscow Institute of Architecture, and was a research fellow at the Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design. Currently, Fabrizio is pursuing a PhD in Urban Studies at the University of Basel, sponsored by the Swiss National Science Foundation. His doctoral thesis traces the urbanization of Sicily during Italy’s postwar building boom, elucidating the social and spatial impacts of the Mafia’s concrete developments. An introduction to the project was  published in Log 53: Why Italy Now?

For general inquires, please get in touch with an e-mail at 
info@distributed-architecture.com.

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Assembly, or a Mosque for All

In a suburban area with very few occasions of social gathering, the new mosque near Preston, Lancashire, is conceived as both a unique religious landmark and platform for social encounters. Accessible to all and intended to become a meeting point for the entire community, the area is designed to function as a public park to encourage human relations and cultural exchange in a country, the UK, where historically the Muslim community is the singularly most victimized, scrutinized, demonized and marginalized. To leverage the area dedicated to the park, the building develops its program vertically in respect of the Islamic tradition of juxtaposing functions in religious edifices. For the same reason, the parking is located underground and is connected to the free-for-all entrance of the mosque through a narrow excavated pathway. The building is constructed with renewable materials relying on local availabilities and craftsmanship, and is composed of two independent elements: a three-level timber structure accommodating the required functions, and a perforated envelope regulating the interior light and temperature during the different seasons. The combination of these two elements—the container and the contained—aims to reflect a new approach to orientation in the design of mosques that expands the relationships between inner spaces, voids, enclosures, and the external landscape calling for the site to become the place of a vivid activity. In respect of the believers, the prayer hall is elevated to the building’s highest floor and remains separate from the other spaces open to Muslim and non-Muslim visitors. While featuring double amenities such as restrooms, ablutions, cloakroom, and vertical connections, the interiors of this mosque differ from the typical setting by allowing equal access to the diverse spaces regardless of gender.

Location:   Preston, Lancashire (UK)
Client:        RIBA
Status:       Competition Entry
Program:   Religion, Park, Public Space
 April 2021




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